Expressway is an engaging two-hander, thanks to its performances. Aljur Abrenica turns in a decent performance as a young sadist. However, it is Alvin Anson that shines with an affecting performance for Ben, a dutiful world-weary syndicate old-timer looking for redemption.
What really makes Expressway stand out as a crime movie is its editing and cinematography.
It’s a well made Noir film with more than just your typical shootout. The jazzy score, lighting contrasts, and stark imagery gives its typical sneak and shoot scenes an artistic and captivating look.
The first scene alone already tells you what you’re in for. Ben sits patiently on a couch in a living room as the target comes in making out with his girlfriend, then proposes to her before laying his fiancee on the table for some premarital practice.
Eventually, the girl notices the still figure watching them. The cop convinces his fiancee to leave and confronts his killer. Under the shadows created by the sole light outside the door, the cop makes a ploy to save his life. Unfortunately Ben is too quick for him. Morris comes in cleaning his knife, hinting at his future bride’s fate.
Compared to most of gangster movies in Philippine cinema, this approach makes Expressway one of a kind. It’s a movie that makes an effort to stage stylish violence without diminishing its impact.
On the other hand, it’s still a predictable crime movie with a typical narrative. The story of an old-timer paired off with a hotshot coincidentally tied to a dark past is nothing new. It doesn’t help that in the end, the movie provides the audience with a misplaced redemption that defeats its purpose.
It can still be said that Expressway is an entertaining crime movie that pays homage to classic Noir films. It’s able to repackage familiar elements to become a refreshing addition to a forgotten genre.
Expressway is a serviceable film-noir thanks to cinematography, editing, and great performances.